Margo Berdeshevsky


Old women kept emeralds buried in the seams. Kept
escape. Kept exile. Waited for the smell of light. Not
us. We buried a wildcat once. And sweat.
Remember? And our country.

Remember? Buried in the pillow, sex left over
on its stillborn sheet. One blackbird, captured in
the cloth, corpse-wing folded with lost direction.

Quieted skin underneath, unstitched
as the pillow sham’s scent of last light.

Sweat was what was left to quench our thirsts.
Remember the French wine? Remember soft
down bedding? Feathers of a hundred lime-green

hummingbirds, minuscule as the kiss I asked for
at the end.
Here is my pillow. Sleep here.


You turn in your skin. It’s too tight, you need a larger
size. The orchestra opens its mouth to laud you, a line
of men in long coats and black caps standing in front
of history. They are its engine, its funeral, its congress.

They have come for your town but there’s no
town, only the scarred mountain and a cave
of sky. The orchestra opens its mouth.

Minute 1: sure of the import and its sudden hazard.
Minute 2: a drum solo.
Minute 3: the basso voice breaks. It remembers
that mama, that papa, covering their infant

girl with their skin, that she lived, that
they did not, that you turn in your tight
skin, it fits now. Your breath fills it.

An orchestra speaks as well as it can, you are
lauded again, the train has stopped, its station, not
a town, only a mountain and an iron-black cloud.

The men in long coats and black hats
will force you,
will speak all the history they know.

Minute 4: what they know doesn’t fit.
Will swallow them any minute.
The orchestra will close its mouth.

There’s nothing to eat. Plague—again.
Undeclared. The wind
knows no borders or history any more than

a featherless thing fallen from her
branch and mother.
You turn in your skin. It will fit now.

The orchestra will open its mouth.
It knows as much history as it can speak.
Minute 5: the ascent is slower than the rescue.

Margo Berdeshevsky, New York City-born, writes in Paris. Books: Before The Drought, /Glass-Lyre-Press/finalist-National-Poetry-Series. Forthcoming: It Is Still Beautiful To Hear The Heart Beat, /Salmon Poetry, + Kneel Said the Night ( a hybrid book in half-notes,)”/Sundress-Publications. Author too: Between Soul & Stone + But a Passage in Wilderness (Sheep-Meadow-Press,) + Beautiful Soon Enough, /FC2. Her works appear in literary  journals worldwide. Her “Letters from Paris” have appeared for many years in Poetry International online. For more information, kindly see here :

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Fall 2021